Making food rules easy to follow
Food rules are a central part of this course and for good reason. Those rules play a vital role in overcoming binge eating and controlling your weight. How you phrase your rules can have quite an effect on how well they work. Today’s discussion is about how to phrase those rules.
I have spoken about this before but it’s something I want to do again.
This program asks a lot of you. Especially your willpower. We have to do everything we can to lower the burden and structure the course around making it as easy as possible to lose weight and control binge eating. Setting yourself up for success is why those food rules are so important. How you phrase those rules is a key part of that.
Let me explain.
It’s not what you say…
Have you hear the saying ‘It’s not what you say but how you say it?’ This sums up our food rules nicely. I was talking to another student the other day who was complaining that they found their food rules exhausting.
When I asked her about the food rule she was having trouble with, this is what she said. ‘I am only allowed a small amount of chocolate per day and never a whole bar.’
On the surface that food rule is clear enough, right?
Wrong. It’s ambiguous and doesn’t work. How much is a ‘small amount?’ A ‘whole bar of what?’ A family-sized bar or a snack-sized one?
Phrasing the food rule in this way is like a circular argument. It gives your inner voice too much room to move and fight back. The phrasing of this rule is what was exhausting her. She would repeat the rule to herself throughout the day and her inner voice would ask ‘How much is a small amount? Could I have just a line? Just a few squares? Just one of these small bars?’
This argument would be endlessly repeated throughout the day. Hence the exhaustion.
Simply rephrasing the food rule solved all that.
From: ‘I am only allowed a small amount of chocolate per day and never a whole bar.’
To: ‘I will only eat two squares of chocolate a day after my main evening meal.’
That simple change made all the difference. My student now knows exactly what is expected. Exactly what the food rule means and what she can and cannot do with it. Her inner craving knows too and now has a lot less room to maneuver.
If you’re having trouble keeping to your food rules, take a long hard look at how you phrase them. It can make all the difference!
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Alan Steiner DMD